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Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Gave the Russian's Oligarchs. Now they are giving back

When the Berlin Wall fell, cadres of mostly Republican, Pirates descended on Russia to "help" them privateer on "reforming" the Soviet System. They didn't really reform anything. What they did was pretty much sell all the assets of the country off to the highest bidders, who were usually connected and savvy former KGB agents, Party leaders, or simply savvy local pirates. The result was that the standard of living of the country fell, access to healthcare, jobs even food dropped. But a few people got immensely wealthy, either by successfully seizing Turf (Properties) or using their connections to be first in line for properties. American Carpetbaggers also got wealthy "helping" the Russians. All those people have now come home to loot US.

We "helped" the Russians transform themselves into a Kakistocracy. Now they are returning the favor.

For more on this:

Winners and Losers from "De-Sovietization"

Some of the people who helped the Russians "reform," stayed around to make money in various ways. Most did so via ordinary capital business. But some did so using their political expertise to assist the new regime. Piracy is lucrative, and many of the pirates who "helped" Russia become a Kakistokracy got their start in the Reagan Administration. I started this blog entry before the events of 3/20/2017 but events have been changing faster than I expected. It turns out that the subjects I wanted to talk about circle around Paul Manafort. The subject is not that complex. Treason comes naturally to utterly ruthless, greedy, vile people. And vultures of a feather feast together.

Suddenly dozens of Trump Team members are registering as Foreign Agents, retroactively: Monica Crowley, Michael Flynn, etc.... That means they were spies!

Russian Mafia

Both winners and losers came to the USA.Some of the losers fled to the United States with their loot, or simply to start over. One of the fleeing Russians was Tevfik Arif who runs Trump's lifeline, Bayrock. In the 80s and 90s a new Mafia appeared in major Cities. In some cases it muscled out the old Mafia. It seems to have eventually reached an accommodation with them. Meanwhile the winners of the King of the Hill game in Russia also came to the United States to launder money and it turns out, to recruit for their new organizations. One such "winner" magnate was Oleg Deripaska, who owns the Aluminum monopoly in Russia. It turns out he may well also own Paul Manafort.

The Rise of Vlad and "Make Russia Great Again

"De-Sovietization" promised to benefit ordinary Soviet Citizens, but it actually simply made their lives worse. Some Russians figured that out slowly, and since I first published this, those are out on the street! But in their first round of recoil at what was happening they elected a "fearless leader" as a reformer, who had other ideas than what he promised. That "reformer" was Vladimir Putin. Initially he made a name for himself with high profile prosecutions of corrupt oligarchs. However, it soon became obvious that he was selective in who he went after. Oligarchs who swore fealty to him and served his interests prospered. Ones who crossed him found themselves charged with corruption. Eventually Putin arrogated enough power that he no longer needed corrupt courts. In recent years his regime has become infamous for targeted assassinations, mysterious deaths and poisonings. He also has set off on a course to reconstitute the Soviet Union, not as a "worker's paradise", but as a Oligarchic Kakistocracy. He used rebellion in places like Chechnya to power repression and hyper-nationalism among his followers, and then channeled that aggression into invasions of Georgia and now Ukraine.

The Looting of the United States Under Reagan


The vision of Piratical Capitalism that is threatening us now, got it's start during the "Reagan Revolution." Ronald Reagan is depicted as a hero by the Right Wing, and in some ways he was. But his administration was one of the most openly corrupt regimes since Warren Harding. But he was never caught. The two biggest scandals of his administration; Iran Contra and the Hud Scandal, may have tarnished his name, but never really touched him. No one even "knew" (officially) about the Hud Scandal until he was out of office. And various lieutenants of Reagan fell on their sword with the Iran Contra, so he essentially got away with Treason and privateering on those two issues.

Political Operatives Like Manafort

People like Paul Manafort make their name as political operatives early. Political Operatives were usually lawyers, sometimes cross trained in computers, marketing or similar, who used their access to business and wealth to fund political activities, and then used their political activities to give them access to "business opportunities" usually involving looting the Government via Defense contracts, services, or in some cases real estate flipping. This mixing of business and politics can generate extreme wealth, almost always under the slogan of "making government smaller" --> small enough to fit in their pockets.

Paul Manafort is an example of such an operative, he got his first exposure to the limelight due to real estate hijinks involving the corrupt Reagan Administration HUD operation. He got his start bilking Section 8 poor people back in 1989:

Like all GOP lawyers, he was just serving his client (not the American people):

"WASHINGTON — A Republican political consultant acknowledged Tuesday that he used his influence to obtain a $43-million Department of Housing and Urban Development rehabilitation and rent-subsidy grant for a developer client, but he insisted that he acted 'within the system.'" [LA Times]

Amazingly he never was prosecuted.

"The testimony by Paul Manafort at a sometimes stormy hearing of a House Government Operations subcommittee came after local officials from New Jersey who were affected by the HUD decision complained that they were never consulted in advance about the grant and did not want it." [LA Times]

And he got away with it too.

"Manafort's high-powered lobbying and public relations firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr., he said." [LA Times]

That Housing project was soon diverted from serving the poor to making money for his associates. He boasted about this, but he also claimed it was all "within the system." The looting was legal. Hence the term privateering. It was all legal Loot.

Manafort and Trump

Manafort and Trump's relationship goes back years. Slate reported on them last year as having known each other for years. Slate reported:

"As Roger Stone has boasted about their now-disbanded firm: “Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, lined up most of the dictators of the world we could find. … Dictators are in the eye of the beholder.” Manafort had a special gift for changing how dictators are beheld by American eyes. He would recast them as noble heroes—venerated by Washington think tanks, deluged with money from Congress." [Slate]

Reinventing others and himself was Manafort's forte, but his relationships go way back. He Lee Atwater, Roger Stone, etc.... all had as mentors people like Roy Cohn:

"The genesis of Donald Trump’s relationship with Paul Manafort begins with Roy Cohn. That Roy Cohn: Joe McCarthy’s heavy-lidded henchman, lawyer to the Genovese family. During the ’70s, Trump and his father hired Cohn as their lawyer to defend the family against a housing discrimination suit. (Cohn accused the Feds of using “Gestapo-like tactics.”) But Cohn and Trump became genuine pals, lunching at the Four Seasons and clubbing together at Studio 54. It was Roy Cohn who introduced Stone and Manafort to Trump." [Slate]

They cut their teeth on dirty tricks style politics. Things like trolling an opponent to plant false impressions. The kinds of things you see O'Keefe involved with today. His buddy Roger Stone:

"During those disco years, Stone and Manafort were tethered together. They were both kids from Connecticut, attending colleges in Washington, though they couldn’t have been more different. Stone loved attention and garnered it with theatrical flair. He was a bad boy, soi-disant. As a student at George Washington University, Stone moonlighted for the Nixon campaign and gravitated to Jeb Magruder, deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President. Dirty tricks came naturally to Stone. He assumed a pseudonym and made contributions on behalf of the Young Socialist Alliance to one of Nixon’s potential challengers. He hired spies to infiltrate the McGovern campaign. Stone wasn’t shy about his handiwork. In fact, he wasn’t shy about anything. He loved to sit for interviews and vamp. Stone is a bodybuilding fanatic who posed shirtless in the New Yorker. The photo captured his implanted hair, but not the tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back." [Slate]

Manafort learned his trade working with James Baker III, Lee Atwater, and the Southern Strategy. Recruiting former Democratic Racist Southerners was a cinch. So recruiting Stone and other old friends came easy. And turning them lose to elect Trump was even easier. If Trump's speeches and policies sound familiar, it goes back to the 70s. Trump was connected to Roy Cohn, Studio 54 and the Four Seasons through his partying days. They maintained that friendship over a number of years.

Making a Name for himself

Manafort wasn't alone. And with his chutzpah and success he drew attention from other Republican Operatives. He went on to a career as a Republican Operative.

"In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[9] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan's election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981 he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation."

Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988 and Bob Dole's in 1996. But his involvement in the Overseas Private Investment Corporation opened up new Opportunities.

Worldwide Republicanism

Operatives like Manafort ran their own foreign policy, doing PR and political work for foreign leaders:

"In 1985, Manafort's firm, BMSK, signed a $600,000 contract with Jonas Savimbi, the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA, to refurbish Savimbi's image in Washington and secure financial support on the basis of his anti-communism. BMSK arranged for Savimbi to attend events at the American Enterprise Institute (where Jeane Kirkpatrick gave him a laudatory introduction), the Heritage Foundation, and Freedom House; in the wake of the campaign Congress approved hundreds of millions of dollars in covert American aid to Savimbi's group. Allegedly, Manafort's continuing lobbying efforts helped preserve the flow of money to Savimbi several years after the Soviet Union ceased its involvement in the Angolan conflict, forestalling peace talks."

It didn't matter that Savimbi had been a Russian Asset. Now he was a Republican client and a paying one. Blood Diamonds? As the Soviet empire collapsed it became obvious that these republicans hadn't so much been anti-Communist as acting as pirates. In classic 1984 doublespeak, the enemy of today is the friend tomorrow, and vice versa. Russia went from being a Bolshevik demonic enemy to alternating between being the enemy of the moment and a source for cash for Republican Operatives like Manafort.


Perestroika becomes a Fire Sale


Meanwhile Russian Reform had become a nightmare. Nothing describes what happened during "de-sovietization" better than the story of Oleg Deripaska.

Oleg Deripaska

"The 49-year-old Deripaska runs Basic Element Co., which employs some 200,000 people globally across a number of industries. In a profile of the billionaire in 2011, Canada's Globe and Mail called the Russian oligarch "Putin's [favorite] industrialist." [Nation:Deripaska]
"Deripaska brought Rusal, a major Russian aluminum company, back from the brink of failure in 2008 by persuading banks to let him keep control of the massive enterprise." [Nation:Deripaska]

According to Rachel Maddow, he got control over Rusal by literally sleeping in the refineries and literally fighting off rivals.

"The deal was very simple," he told the Globe and Mail. "We never tried to screw the banks. I said 'You keep the debt and I will manage the company and deliver for you.'"[Nation:Deripaska]

Note, he didn't survive or get power by looking out for his workers or doing good works. He made deals with other Oligarchs. The Most important being Vladimir Putin. Rusal needed a massive loan to survive. He got that loan by supporting Vlad Putin:

"Deripaska's connections in the Kremlin might have landed him a massive bailout loan that allowed Rusal to survive foreign debts." [Nation Article]

Vladimir Putin looms behind him and all the other Oligarchs. Modern Pravda (Moscow Times) put's it this way:

"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew in to offer a packet of state bank loans to fund overdue salary payments and make sure Deripaska — who owns many factories in far-flung regions — fully understood his social responsibilities." [Moscow Times]

Deripaska claims to be non-political. In Russia that is a survival necessity. He now is shuttering one industry towns that are non-viable. But it is pretty obvious that he obeys Putin "or else." There are lawsuits and allegations of ties to Russian Mobsters, but one wonders how independent they are.

More importantly Oleg would recruit Paul Manafort as his proxy, and allegedly also the Proxy of his own boss, Vlad Putin. The official press denies that Putin would even do such a thing. But Oleg Deripaska would hire Paul Manafort to work for him around 2005.

Oleg Deripaska

Russian Refugees and Mobsters

Meanwhile other Russians fled Russia to avoid prosecution, murder or just to pursue opportunities to launder gains or run rackets outside the country. The Internationalization of the Mob occured as former KGB Agents and mobsters joined forces. One of those refugees was Tevfik Arif.

Bayrock and Tevfik Arif

Donald Trump had once been a predatory developer. But nominally a "liberal." That all changed at the turn of the Century.

"During the first decade of this century, Donald Trump began doing business with an unlikely partner — Bayrock, a New York property developer founded only a few years before by a Soviet-born newcomer to the US named Tevfik Arif." FT

Tevfik Arif "was born Tofic Arifov in Cambul in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in May 1953." He worked in the Hotel Business and Internationally in the Import Export business. Somehow, following the independence of Kazakhstan, Arif and his brother secured ownership of ACCP, a chromium plant in Aktobe that had headquarters in the British Virgin Islands. He worked with:

Alexander Mashkevitch,
Patokh Chodiev,
and Alijan Ibragimov

Together they established offshore real estate companies to fund high-end developments in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. And from there they branched out to investments in the United States. In the United States he soon established relationships with Russian Expatriates in the USA, including Felix Sater.

Tevfik Arif's right hand man here was named Felix Sater who is both a criminal with a record based on assaulting a man with a broken Margarita Glass, and has a reputation as a Government Agent. Sater was born in Russia and raised in Brooklyn. Though it is hard to tell which government he works for. Apparently he'll do business for anyone who pays him and has a deserved reputation as a stoolie. He's also famous for a $40 Million Dollar Securities Fraud sting of New York Mafioso families. Sater is the sort of fellow who uses different names & titles as needed. Despite supposedly leaving Bayrock in 2008, in 2010 he still referred to Arif as his Boss. He's supposedly done work "Crucial to National Security." All together Bayrock reminds me more of SPECTRE, MAD or KAOS than the kind of business an honest person would want to associate with. One of his friends was Tamir Sapir, originally from Georgia. Tamir sued the Soviets and won a settlement for 28 million in 2005. But he never received a Penny. He was very wealthy, lived in Trump Tower. Sapir died in 2014 at age 67. FT

Bayrock and Trump

Trump got involved with Bayrock, because contrary to his advertising he wasn't a good businessman:

"By the 2000s, the property developer and casino owner with ready access to the capital markets and the biggest New York banks was no more. A series ofcorporate bankruptcies had limited his financing options. Mr Trump had become an entertainer who portrayed a tycoon on television and licensed his name to businesses looking for a brand, leading to fee-making opportunities as disparate as Trump University and Trump Vodka." FT

Bayrock would bail out Donald Trump, and in the process tie him to their network.

Fronting for Russian Oligarchs

Whether they remained in the countries of the Soviet Union, or fled to the United States a network of business relationships developed. Many with ties back to the Premier of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Paul Manafort decided to link up with Oleg Derispaska even as Donald Trump was being drawn in by Tvfik Arif.

Recruiting Paul Manafort as an Asset

Paul Manafort started working for the Russians around 2004-2005.

"It was alleged in the Associated Press story Wednesday that Deripaska paid Manafort some $10 million annually starting in 2006. The business relationship lasted through at least 2009, a source told the AP. The former Trump campaign chairman reportedly worked to influence politics, business dealings and the media to benefit Putin's interests." [Nation Article]

I talked about Paul Manafort's role in the 2005 and 2010 Ukrainian Elections in my post on the Parallels between the 2010 election in the Ukraine and the one we just had. I followed up a little in a post called "Putins World".

[Putin's World]

Manafort's Record As an Asset

Essentially Paul Manafort acted as Putin's agent during two elections in the Ukraine. And the Ukrainians want his head for it. I blogged about what he did in 2005 and 2010 [parallels], however his activities were far more extensive than I thought. For one thing Yanukovych paid him at total of 12.7 million dollars over a period of years. Manafort's name appears in the handwritten ledger 22 times as the recipient of payments amounting to $12.7 million, according to anti-corruption authorities in Ukraine. Recently this was corroborated by an invoice found elsewhere signed by Manafort. Manafort promised results to the Putin Administration, and he delivered a President.

"We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success," Manafort wrote in a 2005 memo to Deripaska, according to the AP." [Nation Article]

It always comes home. Now they have to Deliver

Now that Trump is POTUS, he's under pressure from Putin and his administration. When Deripaska speaks, Putin is listening or consenting:

"We all tend to believe [in this] kind of fairytale but there is a reality... You know Trump and his administration needs to prove that they would be capable to change [the] economic reality in the U.S.," Deripaska told CNBC." [Nation Article]

It always Comes Home

Details and Links

Rest of this is basically an ongoing dump where I'm putting names references and information about the criminals associated with #Trumpenführer. It's in draft form so I'll be updating it again and again. Please skip for now.

Carter Page

Carter Page
"Later, Manafort became a 20% partner in the development firm that acquired the 326-unit apartment project that benefited from HUD's grant to provide improved housing for low-income people. The firm bought the units in the Seabrook subdivision of Upper Deerfield, N.J., two weeks before the New Jersey Public Housing Authority was notified that HUD had approved the funding."
Manafort's firm, BMSK, accepted $950,000 yearly to lobby for Ferdinand Marcos.[23][24] He was also involved in lobbying for Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaïre,[25] securing a 1 million dollar annual contract in 1989,[26] and attempted to recruit Siad Barre of Somalia as a client.[27] His firm also lobbied on behalf of the governments of the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya (earning between $660,000 and $750,000 each year between 1991 and 1993), and Nigeria ($1 million in 1991). These activities led Manafort's firm to be listed amongst the top five lobbying firms receiving money from human-rights abusing regimes in the Center for Public Integrity report "The Torturer's Lobby".[28] Involvement in the Karachi Affair[edit] Manafort wrote the campaign strategy for Edouard Balladur in the 1995 French elections, and admitted to having been paid [29] (at least $200,000). The money was transferred to him through his friend, Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir, from middle-men fees paid for arranging the sale of three French Agosta-class submarines to Pakistan, in a scandal known as the Karachi Affair.[22] Association with Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence Agency[edit] Manafort received $700,000 from the Kashmiri American Council between 1990 and 1994, supposedly to promote the plight of the Kashmiri people. However, an FBI investigation revealed the money was actually from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism. A former Pakistani ISI official claimed Manafort was aware of the nature of the operation.[30] While producing a documentary as part of the deal, Manafort interviewed several Indian officials while pretending to be a CNN reporter.[31] In the late 1980s, Manafort was criticized for using his connections at HUD to ensure funding for a $43 million rehabilitation of dilapidated housing in Seabrook, N.J.[32] Manafort's firm received a $326,000 fee for its work in getting HUD approval of the grant largely through personal influence with Deborah Gore Dean, an executive assistant to former HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, Jr

I talk about his involvement in Ukrainian lobbying in another post:

Charles R. Black Jr. (born 1947), is the current Chairman of Prime Policy Group, a public affairs firm associated with Burson-Marsteller, which he founded as Black, Manafort and Stone in 1980.[1] In 2010, he was inducted to the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) Hall of Fame.[2] Black also worked for Ronald Reagan's three Presidential campaigns in 1976, 1980 and 1984 and was a senior political adviser to the 1992 re-election campaign of George H.W. Bush. He served as chief campaign adviser for Senator John McCain in the 2008 Presidential election. More recently, Black worked as an informal adviser to Governor Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign during the 2012 Presidential election.[3] Recently, Black worked as a campaign advisor for Governor John Kasich in the 2016 Presidential election Roger Stone: As a student at The George Washington University in 1972, Stone invited Jeb Magruder to speak at a Young Republicans Club, then successfully asked Magruder for a job with Richard Nixon's storied Committee to Re-elect the President.[19] Stone's political career began in earnest with activities such as contributing money to a possible rival of Nixon in the name of the Young Socialist Alliance—then slipping the receipt to the Manchester Union-Leader. He also got a spy hired by the Hubert Humphrey campaign who became Humphrey's driver. According to Stone, during the day he was officially a scheduler in the Nixon campaign, but: "By night, I'm trafficking in the black arts. Nixon's people were obsessed with intelligence." 1980–1992 Stone went on to serve as chief strategist for Governor Tom Kean's campaign for Governor of New Jersey in 1981 and for his re-election campaign in 1985.[14] Stone, the "keeper of the Nixon flame,"[21] was an adviser to the former President in his post-presidential years, serving as "Nixon's man in Washington."[22] Stone was a protégé of former Connecticut Governor John Davis Lodge, who introduced the young Stone to then former Vice President Nixon in 1967.[23] John Sears recruited Stone to work in Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1979–80, coordinating the Northeast. Stone said that former McCarthyist Roy Cohn helped him arrange for John B. Anderson to get the nomination of the Liberal Party of New York, a move that would help split the opposition to Reagan in the state. Stone said Cohn gave him a suitcase that Stone avoided opening and, as instructed by Cohn, dropped it off at the office of a lawyer influential in Liberal Party circles. Reagan carried the state with 46 percent of the vote. Speaking after the statute of limitations for bribery had expired, Stone later said, "I paid his law firm. Legal fees. I don't know what he did for the money, but whatever it was, the Liberal party reached its right conclusion out of a matter of principle".[3] With partners Charlie Black and Paul Manafort, he formed Black, Manafort, and Stone,[24][25] a political consulting firm, described as "instrumental in the success of Ronald Reagan's 1984 campaign". Republican political strategist Lee Atwater later joined the firm in 1985, after serving the #2 position on Reagan-Bush '84. The firm lobbied for the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos[26][27] and the Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.[28] In 1987–88, Stone served as Senior Adviser to the Jack Kemp for President campaign, which was managed by consulting partner Charlie Black.[29] That same election, his other partners worked for George H.W. Bush (Lee Atwater as campaign manager, and Paul Manafort as director of operations in the fall campaign).[30] In April 1992, Time alleged that Stone was involved with the controversial Willie Horton advertisements to aid George H. W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign, which were targeted against Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis.[31] Stone has said that he urged Republican political strategist Lee Atwater not to include Horton in the ad.[14] Stone denied making or distributing the advertisement, and said that was Atwater's doing.[14] However, the actual ads featuring Horton's picture (run originally on CNN) were produced by Americans for Bush / NSPAC (National Security PAC), an independent-expenditure group not controlled or coordinated by Atwater and the Bush campaign. FEC records for NSPAC do not indicate any payments to or affiliation with Stone, and the ads were reported in 1988 and thereafter to have been produced by another consultant.[32] Stone and his first wife Ann E. W. Stone, whom he married in 1974, founded the group Republicans for Choice in 1989. They divorced in 1990. When asked, Trump did a Sargeant Shultz on Bayrock: “I never really understood who owned Bayrock. I know they’re a developer that’s done quite a bit of work. But I don’t know how they have their ownership broken down.” FT Salvatore Lauria. Bayrock struck a complex deal under which it essentially traded anticipated profits from Trump SoHo and other projects for $50m in financing from the FL Group, an Icelandic company that collapsed the following year along with much of the island nation’s economy. FT One reason Bayrock Collapsed was that the "anticipated profits" from Trump Soho and other projects never materialized. Alexander Mashkevich, the Kazakh billionaire who is a major shareholder in ENRC,
Trump's Russian Riddle:


HUD hearing:
Article from LA Times

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